Obiageli Ezekwesili, leader of the Bring Back Our Girls movement, says the recent comment credited to President Muhammadu Buhari’s on his administration’s readiness to negotiate with Boko Haram, is not sufficient.
Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Ezekwesili explained that the president needed to take the matter “hands-on” to determine the steps on the closure of the matter, rather pinning the responsibility of securing the girls’ freedom on Boko Haram.
“What we have heard has been a lot of tentativeness, at the recent development where our president said that he is ready to do a prisoner swap and that Boko Haram can nominate an international NGO to intermediate that,” Ezekwesili said.
“As far as we are concerned, that’s not sufficient. What our president needs to do is to take this matter hands-on and to determine a lot of the steps towards any kind of closure on this matter.
“Every time a statement comes out of the federal government, it is tentative. Every time a statement comes out that seems to put responsibility on those who are holding our children, it just makes us feel the kind of decisiveness and the engagement that we should see coming out of this; it is not happening.”
She stated that the government ought to be in control in determining the methods by which the girls would be rescued.
“We should be determining a lot of things whether it is military operation, whether it is negotiation, if it’s the combination of military operations and negotiation, we should be in the driver seat of this,” she added.
“We are not leaving it to for actions that come from the other end; we must take charge; we are the nation-state. Our girls are out there in the wild with men of dishonourable intent; we must take charge.”
Also speaking to journalists, Aisha Yesufu, another leader of the group, said Buhari’s willingness to swap the Boko Haram prisoners to get the Chibok girls rescued should not just be said but action should his words.
“It is not about saying the words, but a sign of meaning what you are saying,” Yesufu said.
“What is about saying that an international terrorists should go and look for an international NGO. What does that mean we are the ones that have been working so hard to ensure that our daughters are released.”
The movement later embarked on a “silent” processional demonstration in which they used tapes to cover their mouths.
At the entrance of the presidential villa, they sat down on the ground in silence after they were for the third time barred from gaining entry.